After receiving feedback from my tutors and peers I feel that I have now produced a much better quality documentary film than I previously had. This is mainly down to the techniques which I have used to improve my film, they include: cutaway shots, archive footage, sound levels and maintaining continuity.
As well as focusing on the importance of the choice of font style I am going to use it was also important to me to ensure that the actual video itself was successful and that it was something I was proud to attach my name to. So I firstly looked over individual sections of my documentary to ensure they worked well as mistakes can be missed when looking at he bigger picture first. I had already blended cutaway shots into my interviews so that there won’t be too much ‘talking head’, however I did make some adjustments in the order of my cutaway shots.
As I am continuously watching my film over and over again and as I was there when filming I know all about my project however a viewing audience watching for the first time won’t know anything about it. So to have a fresh pair of eyes look at my film with initial feedback was a big help. As I had not set up in the intro that my film was centred around a smallholding as I had originally used shots which simply suggested the film to be centred around someone’s back garden by using pointless cutaway shots of empty fields. This was something I soon rectified by including shots of more animals and people at work to help establish the location and tone of the film to a viewing audience who would be watching it for the first time.
Before production on my documentary even began I knew that I had different samples of archive footage that I wanted to include in the final product to help push the narrative along. This mainly being footage of the house three years previous and comparing to how it looks now in the present day. I had initially had this short montage placed after my first interview with a group of pensioners from the Evergreen Social Club, however the way in which I had arranged it was all wrong. I had cut straight from the interview to the archive footage rather than having the participants reintroduce themselves to the audience so that a viewer is aware of the change of location.
Sound levels is quite a big problem for me as the sound levels of each location fluctuate quite a lot and when all of those clips are blended together the final product can feel a bit strange and seem very unprofessional. This was a point that was not only made in my feedback but something that I identified myself and intend to correct as best I can. I have already researched into a audio editing software called Audition but as I don’t have enough time left to become fully aware of the programme I am relying on the skills I already have. To tackle this problem I manually adjusted the sound level of each clip to try and maintain a consistent level, I also used the audio gain feature in Premiere Pro to see whether that would have any effect on my sound levels. Reflecting back on my final edit I am quite pleased with how my sound levels are now as they are far more consistent than the previous edit which now makes the documentary feel like one whole film rather than two blended together.
Maintaining continuity was also very important to me as all the example documentaries and films that I have looked into all use continuity because if it is not used effectively than it really stands out and just brings the quality of the final product down. As I was not producing a short narrative continuity techniques such as: over the shoulder shots and shot-reverse-shot were not a concern for me. However techniques such as the 180 degree rule still applied to me and this was something that I ensured I never misused when collecting cutaway shots to use. As well as using techniques when on shoot I also used my editing effectively by not having the narrative move to quickly or to slowly and making sure that the film was not too repetitive. My choice of cut also aided in maintaining continuity as there is no inclusion of jump cuts as they come across as being very unprofessional, distracting and is something that is seen as lazy editing.
Overall I feel that the changes which I have made to my edit has not only benefited the final product but it has also benefited me. As this is the first time when I have properly went through an editing process of continuously improving my work by getting the opinions of others. This experience is another skill that I have learnt from completing this course and is something that I will take with me when I tackle other projects in the future.